Jill Biden, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter highlighted the list of speakers during night two of the Democratic National Convention.
WASHINGTON – The second night of the virtual Democratic National Convention included a roll call in which Joe Biden formally secured the delegates to become the party’s presidential nominee.
The evening featured speeches from two former presidents – Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter – and Colin Powell, former secretary of state to Republican President George W. Bush.
It ended with a moving segment chronicling the love story that led Biden to his wife, Jill Biden. Jill Biden capped off the night with a personal speech about how family tragedies, including the death of his first wife and infant daughter and later the death of their son Beau, helped to shape the former vice president’s character.
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Live coverage of DNC Night 2: Joe Biden secures enough delegates to become the Democratic presidential nominee
Jill Biden talks of family grief
Dr. Jill Biden, the former second lady, spoke from the empty halls of Brandywine High School, where she once taught English.
“I hear it from so many of you: the frustration of parents juggling work while they support their children’s learning – or are afraid that their kids might get sick from school,” she said, alluding to school closures and openings occurring as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Across the country, educators, parents, first responders—Americans of all walks of life are putting their shoulders back, fighting for each other. We haven’t given up,” she said.
Biden’s endorsement of her husband was extremely personal, drawing on the death of their son, Beau.
“Four days after Beau’s funeral, I watched Joe shave and put on his suit. I saw him steel himself in the mirror — take a breath put his shoulders back and walk out into a world empty of our son. He went back to work. That’s just who he is,” she said.
Biden drew parallels between the couple’s grief over their son and the suffering of the nation amid a deadly pandemic and a recession.
“How do you make a broken family whole?” she said. “The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding – and with small acts of kindness. With bravery. With unwavering faith. You show up for each other, in big ways and small ones, again and again.”
Beau Biden died in 2015 at 46 after battling glioblastoma – the most aggressive form of brain cancer. The former vice president has said Beau’s death was what led him to decide against a run for the White House in 2016. The death was also one of the reasons Biden chose Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, as the two became friends when Harris was attorney general in California, and Beau Biden held the same role in Delaware.
Biden’s losses have helped define his political career. Throughout his campaign, he’s been known to shed tears when talking with voters on the campaign trail about his own pain and grief. Biden lost his first wife, Neilia, and their 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, in a car crash in 1972 when Biden, 29, was a senator-elect. The crash left his two sons hospitalized.
Dr. Jill Biden delivers a speech from a school in Wilmington, Delaware about COVID and closed schools for the Democratic National Convention.
Colin Powell endorses Biden, accuses Trump of dividing country
Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state under Republican former President George W. Bush, endorsed Biden for president, saying that he “will be a president we will all be proud to salute.”
“With Joe Biden in the White House, you will never doubt that he will stand with our friends and stand up to our adversaries – never the other way around,” Powell said. “He will trust our diplomats and our intelligence community, not the flattery of dictators and despots.”
Powell, a retired four-star Army general, is also a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Powell has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, calling him a “dangerous for our democracy” in June. He again hit Trump Tuesday on the divisions he says the president has helped sow across the country.
“Today, we are a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it that way and keep us that way. What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us,” Powell said.
Powell was among several Republican critics of Trump featured at the convention. On Monday, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Rep. Susan Molinari, criticized Trump and endorsed Biden.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell delivers remarks to the Democratic National Convention about national security and a strong commander-in-chief.
Cindy McCain video about Biden-McCain friendship
Cindy McCain made an appearance at the DNC Tuesday in a video segment geared toward highlighting Biden’s ability to work across the aisle. The video put a spotlight on the friendship between Joe Biden and her husband, the late Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.
Cindy McCain joined the DNC’s slate of prominent Republicans attesting to Biden’s character.
“It was a friendship that shouldn’t have worked,” Cindy McCain said in the video. “John, a former Navy pilot just released from a North Vietnamese prison. Joe, a young senator from Delaware. But in the 1970s, Joe was assigned a military aide for a trip overseas.”
McCain did not outright endorse Biden for president in her video. She did, however, recount moments of the Biden-McCain friendship, with photos and video clips of the two men throughout their careers.
McCain, along with her daughter, TV commentator Meghan McCain, have been at times outspoken critics against Trump, whose feud with the late senator dates to 2015, when Trump launched his first bid. Trump has continued to criticize the late senator even after his death in 2018 after battling brain cancer.
Cindy McCain voices a video about the decades-long friendship between Joe Biden and her late husband, Sen. John McCain.
Bill Clinton: Oval Office should be a ‘command center,’ not a ‘storm center’
Former Democratic President Bill Clinton, 74, offered strong support for Biden in remarks focused heavily on criticism of Donald Trump, including the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID hit us much harder than it had to,” Clinton said. “We have just 4 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s COVID cases. Our unemployment rate is more than twice as high as South Korea’s, two and a half times the United Kingdom’s, and more than three times Japan’s.”
“Our choice is Joe Biden,” he said. “Joe helped bring us back from a recession before, and he can do it again.”
Clinton also criticized Trump’s television appearances in which he has touted his response to the pandemic, as well as the president’s social media presence.
“If you want a president who spends hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media, he’s your man,” Clinton said. “Denying, distracting, and demeaning works great if you’re trying to entertain and inflame. But in a real crisis, it collapses.”
“The Oval Office should be a command center, instead it’s a storm center,” Clinton said.
Former President Jimmy Carter, 95, and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, 93, praised Biden’s character and accomplishments but did not mention Trump. The pair offered only audio remarks that played over photos.
The former president noted his work with Biden over the years, calling him a “loyal and dedicated friend” who “understands that honesty and dignity are essential traits that determine not only our vision but our actions.”
“Joe has the experience, character, and decency to bring us together and restore America’s greatness,” he said. “We deserve a person with integrity and judgment, someone who is honest and fair, someone who is committed to what is best for the American people.”
Former President Bill Clinton addresses the Democratic National Convention to talk about the dangers of President Trump and what Joe Biden offers.
Biden formally secures nomination
Joe Biden formally secured enough Democratic delegates to become the party’s nominee to challenge Trump after a virtual roll call that included remarks from all 57 states and territories.
In a “Roll Call Across America,” activists and elected officials spoke in front a variety of backdrops, including a fire station in Connecticut, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama or the Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C.
Presidential nominating conventions haven’t been contested for decades and Biden demonstrated he had enough support for the nomination months ago, making the roll call a formality.
During the state primaries and caucuses, Biden collected 2,687 delegates – more than twice the 1,073 earned by his closest rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a first-term congresswoman from New York who has become a progressive star, seconded the nomination of Sanders in remarks that hailed the Vermont senator but did not mention Biden. The nomination of Sanders, and remarks by Ocasio-Cortez, were largely procedural, a symbolic moment that has been featured at previous conventions to honor the candidate coming in second place.
Opinion: Sanders is the MVP of the Democratic convention. We have to save our democracy from Trump.
Ocasio-Cortez outlined Sanders’ work toward goals such as “guaranteed health care, higher education, living wages, and labor rights for all people in the United States.”
Biden will formally accept the nomination in his convention speech Thursday evening.
When the roll call was completed, applause erupted, showing Democratic supporters across the nation on video clapping as Biden, seated in a library with his wife, Jill Biden, were greeted by mask-wearing supporters throwing confetti.
“Thank you very, very much from the bottom of my heart,” a smiling Joe Biden told convention watchers. “Thank you all. It means the world to me and my family and I’ll see you Thursday.”
A viral moment comes full circle
A security guard whose wholesome moments with Biden went viral last year marked one of the most touching moments of the evening when she got the opportunity to be the first person to officially nominate Biden for president.
Jacquelyn Brittany met Biden when she escorted the former vice president at The New York Times for a meeting with its editorial board in December. As they were on an elevator, Brittany blurted out “I love you,” telling him that she hoped he won the primary race. The two posed for a photo before Biden left the elevator.
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“I take powerful people up on my elevator all the time. When they get off, they go to their important meetings. Me, I just head back to the lobby,” she said during the convention. “But in the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me, that he actually cared, that my life meant something to him. And I knew, even when he went into his important meeting, he’d take my story in there with him.”
She added that Biden had “room in his heart” for others and that the country has a long path forward. “That’s why I nominate my friend Joe Biden, as the next president of the United States,” she said.
Brittany was joined by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., in nominating Biden before the night’s roll call.
Contributing: Yvonne Wingette Sanchez, John Fritze and Ledyard King
Joe Biden garnered enough nominations to officially become the Democratic nominee for president.
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